National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Tornado Strikes Chambers and Randolph Counties
March 20th, 1905

Estimated Maximum Wind:
30 Injured/ 9 Fatalities
Damage Path Length:
18 miles
Maximum Path Width:
200 yards
Approximate Start Point/Time:
at 520 pm
Approximate End Point/Time:
Path Estimated & Moved into Georgia
Doublehead to Welsh to Glenn

By Frank P. Chaffee, Section Director of the Montgomery Weather Bureau
(from Monthly Weather Review, March 1905 Page 92)

The tornado was first felt about 6:20 p.m. (seventy-fifth meridian time) of the 20th, at Doublehead, in the northern portion of Chambers County, where one frame building was demolished, one person killed, and two severely injured. The storm crossed the track of the Central of Georgia Railway about two miles north of Welsh, near a settlement known as Bacon Level, where several frame houses were destroyed and four persous seriously injured. A few miles farther east, on Wilson's Plantation, ten people were seriously injured and one frame house demolished; on Holley's Plantation, in the same vicinity, a frame house was blown down and an entire family, consisting of seven persons, was killed and two persons were seriously injured. From this point the storm curved northward to Lime, Randolph County, where several frame buildings were destroyed, and two persons were fatally injured. The storm then passed off northeast into Heard County, Georgia.

The tornado* occurred in the southeast quadrant of a general storm eddy, which moved northeastward across northern Alabama on the afternoon of the 20th. It lasted but a few minutes; its path, which extended from southwest to northeast, was about eighteen miles long and varied in width from 75 to 200 yards. It is reported that a well-defined funnel-shaped cloud was observed, which had a bounding motion and which seemed to contract as it struck the ground at points of greatest destruction, the cloud swelling each time it left the ground. A crackling, rumbling noise was heard from the cloud, around which bright, but not particularly vivid, lightning played. In the center of the path debris was carried forward, while on the outer edges much of it was carried in the opposite direction. The funnel-shaped cloud was very dark, and was accompanied by a heavy downpour of rain, the latter lasting about ten minutes.

At Montgomery, about 72 miles southeast of where the tornado started, warm, unsettled weather prevailed during the afternoon of the 20th, with a maximum wind velocity of 22 miles per hour from the southwest.

Total number of persons killed along the storm's path, 9; fatally injured, 3; seriously injured, 18; estimated damage to
buildings, timber, and fences, $5000**.




March 1905 Tornado Path
Track of East Central Alabama Tornado - March 20, 1905
Click to Enlarge


* Further analysis of this tornado event by Grazulis et al. rated this tornado an EF-3 on the Enhance Fujita Scale.

** $5000 in 1905 would be worth approximately $118,000 today.